Monday, April 28, 2014

Strawberry Crumb-Packed Pie

   There are a few foods I have been diligently craving lately...kale, avocados, mounds of salsa, carrots (an odd one, I know), peanut butter, and strawberries. Like lots and lots of strawberries. By themselves, on my salads, in biscuits, mixed in yogurt, with lemon curd...pretty much anywhere really. 
    I needed a solution to my addiction. So obviously, I made a strawberry PACKED pie, no room in rhubarb for this one (my apologies rhubarb, you can play later). I wanted a think, gooey, warm filling of small-diced strawberries, and big thick chunks mixed together. 
      Once that was settled, I knew the next step was deciding just what kind of pie I wanted this to be. Since I was indulging my food visions, I figured why would I dare stray away from my ultimate dessert love-struesel. This pie not only is COVERED with a generous topping of crumbles that can only mean love at first pie sighting, but also, the crust is formed by pressing these crumbs into the pie dish so they are also the base.
     I know most of the time if someone told you the important qualities of pie were the struesel and lots of fruit, you would respond-"Don't be silly, just make a cobbler and forget the crust." But I am stubborn and wanted my fruit surrounded everywhere with happiness. So today, I introduce you to The Strawberry Crumb Packed Pie.

1 3/4 lb. hulled strawberries
1/2 C granulated sugar
2 TBSP cornstarch
Juice and zest of 1 lemon

Crumb Base and Topping
1 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/2 TSP ginger
1/4 TSP salt
1/2 C almond meal (or roughly chopped almonds)
8 TBSP (1 stick) butter, unsalted, room temperature

1. Preheat the oven to 425F (at high altitude) or 400 (at sea level) and place a rack in the lower third of the oven.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse 1 lb. of the strawberries until finely chopped. Using a knife, rough chop the other 3/4 lb. into large chucks.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together all of the strawberries, filling sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice and zest. Set them aside to rest.
4. Clean out the food processor and prepare the crumbs by combining the flour, sugar, ginger, salt and almond meal. Pulse the processor a few times to mix everything together. Cut the butter into chucks and add them to the flour mixture. Pulse the mixture a few times until you have crumbs around the size of large peas. 
5. Scoop half of the crumb mixture into a 9" pie plate and press it into the bottom and edges. (It is sticky, so a wadded paper fowl may help press it down without getting it all over your hands.) Add the strawberries and spread them evenly over the bottom. Sprinkle the remaining crumbs evenly over the pie. 
6. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the filling is oozing out and the top has golden brown bits. Allow the pie to cool for 2-3 hours before cutting. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

*You can do this recipe by hand, but a food processor makes it faster. If you don't have one, just cut the strawberries by hand. Then mix together the dry ingredients in a small bowl and cut the butter into the mixture until you have crumbs.

    Boulder Butter

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